Text Neck – “A global epidemic”

Text- Neck is a global epidemic and people all over the world, especially the younger generations are suffering the effects.

The neck of the human body is a bio-mechanical marvel. It possesses a wide range of mobility in nearly every direction and serves as a conduit for the major blood vessels to the brain and is the primary pathway of the central nervous system.

This region is one of the most important areas of the body and its structural integrity and function are absolutely critical to overall health.

A typical high school student may spend an extra 5,000 hours in poor posture per year due to cell phones and mobile devices.

When you bend your head forward at 15 degrees, its weight effectively increases from 12 pounds to 27 pounds.

At 45 degrees, your head exerts 49 pounds of force, and at 60 degrees, 60 pounds—this is like carrying an eight year-old child around on your neck for several hours a day.

Research has demonstrated a strong association between forward head posture and decreased respiratory strength and function.

For every inch of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional ten pounds.

Text Neck Impacts Cervical Curve

Loss of cervical curve stretches the spinal cord 5 to 7 cm and produces pathological tension, putting the body in a state of disease.

Neck issues often affect children with numerous risk factors contributing to their development. Increased stresses regarding the cervical spine may lead to cervical degeneration along with other developmental, medical, psychological and social complications. According to a recent literature review of “Text Neck Syndrome” studies, “…If text neck is left untreated, then it can lead to
some serious permanent damage, such as:

  • Flattening of the spinal curve
  • Onset of early arthritis.
  • Spinal misalignment can be an outcome of text neck
  • Loss of lung volume capacity
  •  Spinal degeneration
  • Disc compression
  • Disc herniation
  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle damage
  • GI problems
  • STIFF NECK: Soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head from side to side after a long use of Smartphone.
  • SHARP PAIN: Sometimes this symptom can also be observed by the patient of text neck syndrome, localized to one spot and might feel like it’s stabbing or stinging. Often, this type of pain occurs in the lower levels of the neck.
  • GENERAL SORENESS: The pain is mostly in one spot or area of neck and trapezius muscle region.
  • RADIATING PAIN: Due to the excessive forward head posture, the pain can radiate along a nerve from the neck into the shoulder and arms.
  • WEAKNESS AND NUMBNESS: Shoulder muscles and especially trapezius, scalenus, rombodius and sternocleido mastoid muscles are the main to go for weakness.
  • HEADACHES: Sometimes an irritation in the neck can also affect muscles and nerve to the head. This could be a tension headache, such as from neck muscles tightening.”

Text Neck Recommendations

In my experience, prevention is the best cure. Getting regular chiropractic adjustments to keep the spine aligned and the body aware of inappropriate posture can help prevent more serious injuries. Stretching regularly, taking regular breaks from electronics and addressing and injury quickly will also help to ease the long term effects of text neck. Good nutrition can also help with text neck as keeping ligaments healthy will help them adapt properly to stress.

This same article compiled the various treatments and recommendations listed below:

Text Neck Treatments – Acute cases:

The main problem of the text neck syndrome are muscle spasm, neck pain, stiffness, postural deformity etc.

Warm up your neck muscles time to time: In every 30-40 min of using smart phone or I-readers you need to warm up your neck muscles by some short of exercises i.e. rotate your head, to and fro of head, change directions or posture etc. At least repeat this for 10 times.

Stretches: You can do different muscles stretch and hold for 10-30 seconds. Such as side neck stretch, levator scapula stretch, front neck stretch etc.

Chin and scapula retraction: Chin and scapula can be retracted and hold for 20-30 seconds. It helps to strengthen the muscles of neck and head stabilizing muscles and get rid of neck pain and postural instability.

Talk more and text less: we have lost our ability to make more genuine connections. we don’t even call to wish each other happy birthday anymore. It seems minor point but if a person text he/she takes more time on phone rather than in calling for same work.

Rest: With most neck strains and sprains, going easy for a few days is all that is needed while the muscles and tendons heal on their own. It is important to be careful to avoid strenuous activities
or movements that are causing more pain.

Ice and/or heat: Applying ice can work as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and pain. Initially, it’s better to apply ice or cold packs for neck pain because they can temporarily close small blood vessels and prevent swelling from becoming worse. After a couple days, ice or heat can be applied on an alternating basis. Applying continuous heat can cause increased swelling.
Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research (IJIR) Vol-3, Issue-7, 2017 ISSN: 2454-1362, http://www.onlinejournal.in Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research (IJIR) Page 146

Massage: Often employed after applying ice or heat, a massage can soothe muscle tension and spasms, reducing pain.

Better posture: If poor posture is causing the neck pain, then simple changes might be the solution. This could include changing a workstation to become more ergonomically friendly, with a chair, monitor, mobile phones and keyboard positioned in ways to keep the body, head, and neck more aligned in a natural position; or learning to sleep on the back (instead of the stomach or side) with an ergonomically-friendly pillow and mattress.

Modify lifestyle: If certain activities are found to cause neck pain that keeps coming back, then those activities might need to be limited or avoided. For example, if someone spends a few hours every day with their neck craned over a smart phone while texting friends and checking updates, then that activity should be reduced; and the phone should be held up closer to eye level to keep the neck more upright while texting.”

Text Neck Treatments – Chronic cases:

“…if the text neck syndrome leads to the chronic pain and chronic clinical features near by the neck and shoulder region following treatment can be done respectively:
Medical care for most types of neck pain typically starts with non-surgical treatments such as one or some combination of the following:

Physical therapy: Most treatment programs usually include some form of physical therapy to improve neck strength and flexibility. The physical therapy program’s structure and length will vary
depending on the specific diagnosis and situation…

Prescription pain medications: If an over-the counter pain reliever hasn’t been effective, prescription-strength medications may be tried… the CDC changed its guidelines in 2016 and recommends fewer opioid prescriptions for chronic pain management due to the risk for addiction and other possible complications…

Cervical epidural steroid injections: This procedure involves injecting cortisone steroid solution into the cervical epidural space, which is the outer layer of the spinal canal. To ensure that
the injection goes into the epidural space near the inflamed nerve, X-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) is used…This injection is not always effective and has some risks, including the possibility of infection, and its use might be limited to a few times a year.

Cervical facet injections: If neck pain is caused by irritation of the facet joints, injections of steroids into the specific joints can reduce the pain. If the facet injections yield predictable but temporary pain relief, sometimes radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the small sensory nerves that go to the affected facet joints may be recommended. While these RFA procedures may have longer effects, these injections are not designed to cure the  problem, but rather to temporarily offer relief for the irritated facet joints. (emphasis mine)

Trigger point injections: Irritation of specific muscle bundles can be the source of pain. Trigger point injections are designed to reset the normal orientation of these irritated muscle bundles. The injection materials can vary from saline, lidocaine, dextrose, or cortisone. This type of treatment may be nuanced but effective for well-defined trigger point irritations to the neck muscles. These treatments may not have long term efficacy, or may not have the desired pain reduction. (emphasis mine)

Chiropractic and Acupuncture for Text Neck

Manual manipulation: A chiropractor…may make manual adjustments to the spine in an effort to improve range of motion and reduce pain…The chiropractor will typically use his or her hands to do the adjustments, but sometimes a machine can be used to make gentle adjustments. Some people report that chiropractic adjustment has helped reduce neck pain, but not everyone reports benefits…

Acupuncture: With its roots in Chinese medicine from thousands of years ago, acupuncture involves placing thin needles into the body at key points based on the condition being treated. A typical treatment might last less than an hour before the needles are removed. In the US, the needles must be disposed and not reused. It’s important that the acupuncturist is licensed and uses sterile needles. Acupuncture is usually well-tolerated by most patients and is generally considered safe.

In addition to the above treatments, anything the individual can do to lead a healthy life will also positively impact neck pain. For example, moderate aerobic activity several times each week, and
stopping smoking, can be beneficial for most types of neck problems14,15,16
Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research (IJIR) Vol-3, Issue-7, 2017, ISSN: 2454-1362, http://www.onlinejournal.in
Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research (IJIR) Page 147

Are you or your loved ones suffering from text neck? We can help! Please call (480) 771-1700 to schedule an appointment.

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